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The importance of maintaining your investment property

By Monica Boyd

Buying a property is a big investment, and it only makes sense to take care of it properly. As a landlord, you have a number of responsibilities in keeping your real estate up to standard. What those responsibilities are depends on where specifically in Australia or New Zealand your property is.

However, it isn’t just an obligation or a responsibility: it’s just good practice. Here’s why you should always keep property maintenance at the front of your mind.

AVOIDING ADDITIONAL COSTS

A stitch in time saves nine.

‘A stitch in time saves nine’ as the old saying goes, and it applies to property as much as it does to your favourite clothing. Ensuring that you fix a problem early enough can result in far fewer problems in the long run – and a lot less expense and hassle on your part.

By keeping to a strict maintenance schedule, both you and your tenant will know that your real estate is ship shape and ready for service. If not, you could very well find that you’ve either ignored something that results in a lot of expense, or not discovered something that puts your property on the back foot.

For example, Archicentre found that 34 per cent of homes across Australia have a minor water damage problem, while 4 per cent already have a major one. That’s more than one in three homes that either already need a repair that could cost more than $10,000, or have the opportunity to develop one. Identifying this problem while it is still minor could be the difference between a big maintenance bill and a small repair job.

ATTRACTING THE RIGHT TENANTS

It can end up putting a dent in the capital gains of your property as well.

Have you ever heard of the theory that as soon as a window is smashed in an otherwise pristine building, it’s far more likely that the rest of them will get broken as well? Well there’s certainly an element of truth to it: if your property is in a poor state of affairs when you are trying to rent it out, you might find that you can’t attract the best calibre of tenants.

As a result, you could either find that you have to settle for someone you’d rather not entrust with your property, or having to swap out tenants every year or so. That’s wasted time, wasted money and it can end up putting a dent in the capital gains of your property as well.

Not only that, but the right kind of maintenance (even if it’s just minor cosmetic additions) could mean you get a better rental yield as well. Considering CoreLogic RP Data has recorded weekly rental rates have either stagnated or even dropped in the year up to the end of April, this should be a significant reason to keep up your maintenance routine.

STAYING AWARE

You get the chance to ensure that your real estate is being taken care of properly.

That property could be your ticket to a comfortable retirement, which is why it pays to take care of it. However, your tenants will also have responsibilities to keep the place up to standard and avoid as much damage as possible.

As part of your maintenance routine, you get the chance to ensure that your real estate is being taken care of properly, as well as get a feel for what areas that might not need a repair yet, but could do with an update.

Of course, there’s only so much the average Australian can do in this regard, which is why so many people choose to use a property management service to ensure that their property is well cared-for. Maintenance is a serious issue, which is why so many people prefer to entrust the responsibility to a professional.

Whether you do the maintenance yourself, use a property manager or otherwise handle your real estate, keeping on top of repairs is a legal, ethical and financial responsibility for your investment property. Make sure you pay it the attention is deserves!

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